One of the all-time great TV stars, Marlo Thomas--with her false eyelashes, fab flip, and an adorable raspy squeak when she got excited--achieved iconic status with That Girl
, a top-rated and culture-busting show about the comic trials of an aspiring actress/model in 1960s New York City. Thomas (and her on-screen alter ego, Ann Marie) combined the poise and fashion sense of Audrey Hepburn, the bubbly good cheer of Annette Funicello, and the sly smarts of Claudette Colbert into one surprisingly hip small town girl in the big city. Though dozens of great guest-stars (from Bill Bixby to Ethel Merman) pass through the show and the supporting cast (including Bernie Kopell, The Love Boat
, as a neighbor, and Lew Parker and Rosemary DeCamp as Ann's parents) is topnotch, That Girl
is fundamentally a tennis match between Thomas and the underrated Ted Bessel as Ann's deceptively mild boyfriend, Donald. Episodes in the second season ranged from loving or satirical portraits of show-biz life (Ann starred in an out-of-town flop; Ann worked as a model for a libidinous British photographer; Ann gets cast in an Italian film that has a nude scene) to keenly observed dustups in Ann and Donald's developing relationship (Donald's mother discovers a pair of his pants in Ann's closet; Ann frets that she doesn't have sex appeal; and, in one oddly surreal show, Ann meets a doctor who's an exact doppleganger for Don). Though the chaste morals of 1960s television--ridiculously out of step with 1960s real life--kept Ann and Donald from ever consummating their enduring relationship, it's amazing how sophisticated and sexy they could be without ever taking their clothes off. Listening to their repartee, you realize how depressingly dumbed-down most sitcom dialogue is, then and now. Ann and Donald talked like adults: Making allowances for each other's foibles, poking fun at them all the same, and respecting each other's independence. It doesn't undercut the show's significance as a proto-feminist milestone to say that it's a love story at heart. Over the course of Season Two, Ann and Donald's relationship grew increasingly subtle and textured; it genuinely smacked of two people growing to know each other better and liking each other all the more. If you don't think a happy, functional relationship can have a real romantic spark, you haven't watched That Girl
. --Bret Fetzer
Ann and Donald are back for the second season of the groundbreaking hit situation comedy That Girl which aired in 1967-1968. It remained in a prime ABC spot following Bewitched and the viewer numbers regularly ranked in the top 5 television shows airing at that time. On September 20, 1967, Variety reported that That Girl held 27.5% of the TV viewing audience. This substantial number continued to grow through the season and by January 1968, Nielsen polls showed 45.4% of the TV audience was tuning in.
This season debuted with one of the most popular episodes from the series. In "Pass the Potatoes, Ethel Merman," Ann gets a one-line role in a short-term revival of Gypsy and invites Ethel Merman (playing herself) back to her apartment for a home-cooked meal.
Here are all 30 color episodes from the second season, along with rare bonus material and guest appearances by Sid Caesar, Rob Reiner, Teri Garr, Ruth Buzzi, Rich Little, Bill Bixby, Norman Fell, Joan Blondell and Ethel Merman.
Marlo Thomas Interview Featurette
Never-Aired 1965 Pilot for Two's Company Starring Marlo Thomas
Audio Commentaries with Marlo Thomas and series co-creator Bill Persky
That Girl Promos